Airline fined for denying seat to Bishop


New Delhi (eTN) – An Italian airlines, which left a Bishop stranded at Kuwait for over six hours despite his having a confirmed ticket to Rome, has been asked to cough up Rs 25,000 for its deficiency in service.

Holding that Alitalia Airlines was responsible for acts of omission by its agent, the State Consumer Commission directed Alitalia Airlines to pay the damages to Bishop John B Thakur SJ from Bihar within a month.

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“Once a confirmed status is provided to a ticket, the passenger cannot be offloaded for any reason whatsoever,” the Commission’s President Justice J D Kapoor said in a recent decision, in response to a complaint by the Bishop who had asked for a compensation of Rs 9.5 lakh.

The Commission noted that the priest was adjusted in the next flight to Rome and was subjected to mental agony for the six hours which he spent waiting for another flight.

Bishop, a native of Muzzafarpur in Bihar, had purchased a ticket from Mumbai to Rome from the airline’s booking agent in July, 1997.

The airlines’ agent had allegedly told the complainant that since all the flights were over-crowded, he was being handed an additional ticket from Kuwait to Rome as a precaution, Bishop had claimed.

When the priest took the flight and reached Kuwait on July (rpt July) 31 that year, to his utter shock, he was hounded out of the plane by its staff saying that his ticket was valid for the Mumbai-Kuwait section only, he had alleged.

On inquiring, he was told by an airline’s staff that his seat had been allotted to another passenger. He was made to wait for the next flight, which came after six hours, he alleged.